Pastry Shops

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About
From the grand patisseries and Konditoreien of Paris and Vienna, graced with gilded ceilings and velvet chairs, to corner boutiques tucked away in quiet neighborhoods, pastry shops are places of pilgrimage and ritual. Wide-eyed children beg parents for treats, friends gather to chat over sweet delicacies, and solitary shoppers buy goods to cart home. Buttery aromas waft from the ovens, blending with those of melted chocolate and caramelized fruits, and glass cases hold heaping trays of cookies and elaborate displays of macarons, meringues, and marzipan. Pastry shops sell specialties for holiday celebrations and special occasions, but mostly they cater to the indulgences of the quotidian—the croissants and fruit tarts that mark the break of day, the elegant petits fours and spiced cakes that accompany afternoon tea, and the decadent chocolate tortes that close an evening meal.